Let’s talk mayo shall we? Whether you’ve ever loved it or hated it, we all know it’s not the healthiest food. However, for many of us, it’s a common condiment we know too well whether from our past or current day choices. Mayonnaise provides that creamy, fatty flavor and texture so many of us desire, but do you know what it’s actually made of? Raw eggs yolks and pure oil. Yum, right?
Why Mayo is a No-Go
Worse than that, some cheaper brands also contain refined (GMO-filled) soybean oil which promotes further inflammation and is one of the worst to lead to weight gain. Raw eggs contain salmonella and who knows what other forms of bacteria, and oil is not a whole food source of fats like raw nuts, seeds, and avocados are. But you probably already know that, and if you don’t, you’re still likely wondering what in the world you’re supposed to use on your coveted mayo-filled sandwiches.
Better, Oil-Free Options Are Out There
No worries, though these five choices might take some getting used to, we promise that once you experience their flavor and how they make you feel (and possible how they loosen the belt up a bit), you’ll never look at that jar of mayo again. If you really need some help getting rid of mayonnaise, leave some out overnight in a jar uncovered and watch what happens. What you see in the morning will definitely help you ditch it for good! While you can choose vegan versions of mayo (some of which are scarily like the real deal but better), we’d like to provide you with a few better options that contain higher-quality fats, less processed, or that are lower in fat in general.
Let’s look at some healthier options instead:
This healthy spread is a common mayo substitute for those watching their calories, but it’s much more than a dieting hack. Hummus is traditionally made from one of the most beneficial legumes you can eat – chickpeas! Chickpeas provide adequate, easy-to-digest protein, Vitamin B6, are fairly easy to digest and have an incredibly satisfy, creamy and nutty flavor. Many hummus varieties contain added oils and excess sodium, so choose brands under 50 calories as the healthiest option, or make your own at home instead. Use some of our favorite hummus spread options including: red pepper hummus, Smokey Chipotle PumpkinHummus, or go the traditional oil-free route for a classic flavor. Use hummus in these sandwich recipes: Vegan Humdinger-Hummus, Cucumber, Carrot, Avocado and Alfalfa Sprouts Sandwich or go with a simpler (but still delicious) option – The Cracked Sandwich with Hummus, Avocado and Sun-dried Tomato instead.
Not into hummus but still want something creamy? Go with guac! Guacamole is higher in fat than hummus, but it’s the types of fats you want to get in on pronto! Made from nature’s butter (avocados), guacamole is fantastic choice when you want high-flavor with complete satisfaction. It’s also a nifty alternative for salad dressing too, but on a sandwich, it will lend that meshing role you need to help sandwich items hold together, while still providing a creamy option. Depending on the brand you choose, some may have spicier ingredients or more salt than others. Stick with lower sodium brands or make your own from 1/2 an avocado, 1 tablespoon of diced red peppers, 1 tablespoon diced tomato (about 2 grape tomatoes), a pinch of pepper, and the juice from one small lemon or lime. Puree or mash in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of hummus and a sliver of garlic if you want it extra spicy. Use this to spread between two sandwiches (or one if you’re super hungry) and use it on any of our favorite sandwich recipes to test it out. Want a still lower fat option? Go with mock-guac which uses a secret ingredient that’s surprisingly amazing!
3. Almond or Cashew Butter
Surprisingly, two nut butters that are normally used in sweeter recipes make amazing savory spreads. Almond butter goes excellent on sandwiches, sweet or savory and cashew butter’s mild creamy flavor and rich texture are easy to use wherever you like as well. Buy raw organic options when possible, or learn to make your own almond butter and your own cashew butter at home. Test almond butter out with either some strawberry or blueberry all fruit jam or even with some fresh greens, shredded carrots, tomatoes, black pepper and red bell pepper slices. Cashew butter goes great on toasted bread with some greens, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cracked black pepper. Both are also even better on sprouted grain bread, which is nutty and flavorful (along with healthier).
Tahini is a phenomenal food. Made from ground sesame seeds, it’s packed with calcium, iron, protein, B vitamins, and even magnesium, it’s also one versatile spread you can use in just about anything. Tahini is used to make a classic healthy (and crazy delicious) dairy-free salad dressing but it can also easily be made into a sandwich spread or sauce. To make a tahini mayo alternative, you can use straight raw tahini out of the jar or you can puree a little with some garlic, lemon juice and black pepper which is how many people enjoy it as a dressing. Use tahini spread with some grilled bread, black pepper, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, fresh cucumber slices with some red bell pepper slices or give it a heartier feel with some tempeh if you’re into soy-protein or pack it on a burger for a more filling meal. You can even learn to make tahini at home with our favorite recipe so you always have some on hand.
For those that want a low-cal option, mustard is a classic sandwich champ for all-time. Humble as it may be, this condiment wins when it comes to flavor for the calories and sodium it contains (which is around 30-50 milligrams and calories per serving with most brands). Mustard is the perfect way to satisfy the need for high-intensity flavor and the vinegar used in mustard even helps lower your blood sugar. Made with turmeric (and often paprika or horseradish), mustard also comes with additional antioxidant qualities. Use mustard hot or chilled anyway you want. We don’t have to give you ideas for this classic spread, but don’t be afraid to try it out on new options instead of the classic things you might be used to. Stick to organic and non-GMO brands for the best option, which are actually pretty affordable compared to other brands. Or, go the healthy, savvy route and make your own.
For the days when sliced avocado just won’t cut it, and you’re not into processed mayo alternatives, these are some of the easiest, most nutrient-dense options you can choose.
What do you use on your favorite mayo-free sandwiches?
Lead Image Source: The Cracked Sandwich with Hummus, Avocado and Sun-dried Tomato
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